One of the best things about travelling for me is the quirky cultural differences and points of view that people have in different countries.
This is even more fascinating for me being in Hanoi at the moment, as my parents are Vietnamese, so the differences I see in the Vietnamese are a glimpse of what I could have been, had I not been born in London.
One of the things we couldn’t get over when we came out to Vietnam on our honeymoon, was the strange compliments that Elena got from the locals, which went something like “You’re so lucky – you are so fat!” as they admired her size 10 figure.
We also recently found out that it’s almost impossible to get hold of any moisturizing cream or body lotion that doesn’t contain “whitener” as light skin is seen as beautiful here.
Both of these traits I had already read about before I got here, but recently we discovered another thing that the Vietnamese find beautiful.
One of our friends, who is naturally quite pretty, recently started putting up the strangest profile pictures on facebook. When she came over to our house, Elena asked her why she had been putting up pictures that made her look so funny
“Ahh yes, I’ve been trying to take pictures with my eyes as wide as possible” she said, “I look great right! Everyone has been saying how big my eyes are!”
Since then, I’ve started noticing lots of pictures on facebook of people trying hard to look like owls.
Now that we realise this, we see “eye-widening” procedures everywhere. In opticians, they have glasses and contact lenses designed to make you appear like you have bigger, rounder eyes, and procedures you can have that make your eyes bigger.
All in the name of beauty.